University reports record year for private contributions
By Terry McGuire
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 38 - August 13, 1998
Virginia Tech supporters have produced another record year in private funding. Contributions from the private sector reached $48.9 million for fiscal year 1997-98, which ended on June 30. The total represents a 13-percent increase over the previous high of $43.2 million in 1996-97. The results were fueled in large part by the success of the university's comprehensive, $250-million fundraising campaign, which also concluded on June 30.
Gifts and commitments from alumni and corporations made up better than 67 percent of the total, with alumni giving $19.6 million and corporations donating $13.5 million, a 5.8-percent increase over the previous year. Parents also gave a record amount, contributing $1.4 million, while friends of the university provided $9.3 million or 88 percent more than the $4.9 million donated in 1996-97. Gifts and grants from foundations also rose from $2.9 million to $3.5 million. Donations from the faculty and staff, students, and other organizations accounted for the balance of the total.
Private funds earmarked for current operations and for endowment topped last year's totals. Donors directed $19.4 million toward support of the university's day-to-day operations and contributed another $17.9 million in gifts and commitments to endowment, funding that will benefit students, faculty members, and programs for years to come. Private dollars helped raise the overall endowment to more than $325 million as the university moves toward its goal of having a $1-billion endowment by 2013.
The university also attracted increased funding for capital expenditures, with donors designating $6.8 million for facilities and equipment compared to $5.7 million the previous year. Private-gift income has financed the building of the 40,000 square-foot Merryman Athletic Center, which is scheduled for dedication this fall.
Private support has also helped defray the construction costs of the Advanced Communications and Information Technology Center, a facility that will serve as the linchpin of Virginia Tech's leadership in information and instructional technology when it is completed in the fall of 2000.
The year's performance continues the upward climb in private-sector income that has paralleled the six-year success of the Campaign for Virginia Tech, the largest fundraising effort in university history. The campaign had raised $298.1 million as of March 31, surpassing its $250-million goal by more than 19 percent. Campaign accounting ended on June 30, and the final total is expected to be well above $300 million.
"The campaign has been everything we had hoped for--and more," says Charles Steger, vice president for Development and University Relations. "Its success has raised private giving at Virginia Tech to another level. Our challenge now is to show alumni, friends and others why their continued support is so essential to the university's future strength."